Dr. Aimee Ryan
Assistant Professor - Department of Pediatrics
Associate Member - Department of Medicine, Division of Experimental Medicine
My laboratory is investigating the molecular mechanisms that direct morphogenesis during early embryonic development. Morphogenesis literally means “creation of shape”. It is the process that drives the formation of organs and tissues and is required to generate the structurally complex 3-dimensional embryo. The forces that drive morphogenesis begin at the level of the cell and include changes in cell shape and adhesion, as well as changes in rates of proliferation and orientation of cell divisions. At the tissue level, groups of cells must undergo directed and coordinated movements that depend on the ability of cells to communicate with their neighbours. Throughout these movements, cells must remain oriented with respect to the anterior-posterior, dorsal-ventral and left-right axes of the embryo.
We are characterizing two major morphogenetic events during embryogenesis: development of the left-right axis and neural tube closure. We have discovered that specific claudin family members regulate the direction of heart tube looping and neural tube closure. Members of the claudin family regulate paracellular permeability, apical-basal cell polarity and cell adhesion, and link the tight junction to the actin cytoskeleton. Contact us to find out more!